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Court OKs overtime class action settlement for Scotiabank front-line sales staff

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TORONTO - Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) has agreed to consider overtime claims from thousands of its front-line sales employees for work done as much as 13 years ago under a class action settlement that has now received court approval.

Law firms acting for current and former employees of the bank say the claim period will depend on the province or territory where the work was performed. The deadline for submitting a claim is Oct. 15.

Cindy Fulawka, a personal banking representative at Scotiabank, filed the lawsuit against the bank in December 2007 seeking to represent personal or senior bankers, financial advisers and small business account managers.

Scotiabank said last month, after the settlement was negotiated, that the amount of money was "not financially material" to the bank. Details of the settlement were withheld until it received court approval on Tuesday.

"Our estimate, which the bank disputes, is that (the total cost) is going to be about $95 million. Up to that," Adam Dewar, one of the lawyers at Roy O'Connor who worked on the case, said on Wednesday.

He said the bank has also agreed to pay $10.45 million to the law firms acting for the plaintiffs.

Roy O'Connor LLP and co-counsels Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP and Sotos LLP say that current and former employees within the class should make a claim whether or not overtime was approved at the time by a manager.

They said the claims will be initially evaluated by Scotiabank and there will be a right to appeal to an independent arbitrator if any of the class members isn't satisfied with the bank's review.

Scotiabank has also committed to ensuring that any class member who submits a claim will not be subject to any retaliation or adverse consequences, the law firms said.

To assist in the claims process, the law firms will provide a check-box type of claim form that can be filled out and submitted to Scotiabank. There's a website at http://www.bnsunpaidovertime.ca and a toll-free number at: 1-888-687-2431.

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